The Symbol Of The Phoenix
The Phoenix has been an ancient symbol for life after death and this mythical bird’s rising from the ashes depicts this idea. It is interesting to see how the phoenix has been adopted by various cultures and religions, despite the fact that it originated from Greek mythology. Not much is known about the history of this symbol, but we still see it today as a mystical symbol of hope against adversity.
Life from the ashes
The phoenix, by reputation, is closely associated with the sun. The symbol often depicts a large red bird rising up from a fire. This is because the phoenix symbolizes life after death or hope after destruction. The phoenix can represent many beliefs such as:
- The soul goes on after death
- Out of troubled circumstances comes eventual good
- Hope never dies
- Beauty out of the ashes
It is for this reason that some religions throughout the ages adopted this symbol, as will be seen further below.
Although it is no longer the case, in early Christian history, the symbol of the phoenix was adopted by some Christian churches to portray spiritual life after death. Christians believe that people are ‘born again’ after repenting of their sins, and so their bodies are considered dead and replaced by new spiritual life. It may also have been a symbol of life after death, in that the soul lives on after the body has died.
Today’s view of the Phoenix
The symbol is more likely to be seen in a tattoo parlour than a church nowadays. Mysticism and spiritualism have adopted the symbol now and it is simply representative of rising above hardship. It is seen now as purely mythological and yet the idea of a phoenix rising from the fiery ashes is an attractive one for many. The phoenix itself is likely to feature in animated shows, video games, and adventure books.
We can still learn something valuable from the symbol of the phoenix. Our lives are filled with hardship and challenges and a philosophy stating that we can rise above those circumstances—no matter how bad they become—is a good mindset to have. So the next time you see the phoenix, remember what it stands for, remember where it comes from, and remember where it has been throughout history.